Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Homesteading Limitations

Once again, the subject of "trying to do it all" has come up in our local homesteading group, as well as during a conversation with a couple of ladies at church this week. If you're over 18, you've probably already figured it out... there's no way one person can juggle all the balls at once. Like herding a bunch of baby goats, trying to line them all up at once (right!). Just when you get one in place, two more are running off in two different directions.

There are NO super women. 

Yes, there are some that get more done than others. And let's remember... there are seasons in life that differ. The daily routines (or lack thereof) are much different for the home with 3 toddlers as opposed to the home of teenagers or even empty nesters. Everyone is busy; it's just a different KIND of busy. (Okay... not everyone. If you're lazy, then forget the rest of this post and get up and get to it! But for all you over achievers out there... READ ON!)

So now we throw in caring for animals, tending a garden, cooking everything from scratch, maybe going "green", or some other worthy endeavour on top of all the typical homemaking duties a wife and mother must juggle. What kind of madness have we succumbed to in order to add more to our already full plate? Many an inquiring mind has looked at us and wondered!

Because we love it. Or we desire a certain lifestyle. Perhaps we feel called to it. Whatever our motivations for embracing homesteading, there are those moments that we wonder... 

Am I doing the right things with my time? Have I taken on too much? Was it wise to begin this project? Is it really important that I (fill in the blank)?

A few thoughts... and these are mostly reminders of things we already know.

• Homesteading should be for the LONG haul; something that develops over time. Not in a month or a year or even in 2 - 3 years. It's a lifetime of learning and expanding. It's a journey! Enjoy the ride! 

• Don't compare your own homesteading journey with someone else's. It's unique to you and your family. That's why we all name our homesteads something different!

• Remember that springtime on a homestead is always ridiculously busy. Keep your schedule light during this time. Remember Little House on the Prairie? They schooled around the harvest - for a reason! They needed every hand on deck! This next year, with the exception of some on line classes, I hope to be done with the remaining subjects by April 1st... just in time for chicks, garden starts, and waking up the bees! Hopefully, that will lighten the load just a bit.

• Add one thing at a time and become proficient at it before taking on another skill. REALLY proficient. 

• If you feel strongly to add something else to your plate, before you do, wait at least 3 days, but if possible, try to wait a couple of weeks and see if the urge to do it passes. Pray about it, research it, and think if there is something you can eliminate to make room before adding one more thing. Run it by your spouse and get his or her input. Usually they will see things from a little bit different perspective. I waited 2-3 years to actually acquire my goats because my husband wasn't ready. It was a wise decision and when we were both ready, we took the plunge. I'm so glad I waited! 

• Whatever it is your doing, get it organized and create a routine as soon as possible. And teach everyone who will be involved what the routine is. As the months come and go, the schedule will need to be readjusted based on the calendar, weather, and time changes. It's amazing how quickly something like milking a goat can be done when there's a routine to follow and supplies are organized!

• Do not let your homestead become a burden. If it is, stop and evaluate WHY it feels that way! It should mostly be a JOY (with small bouts of challenges that are discouraging, but not the norm). Get away once in a while. Yes, you will have to have someone watch the farm; maybe pay them (trading is better!). Your homestead is dependent on God first and foremost, not you. Getting away is a good reminder and will refresh you for the work that awaits when you get home. If you have to, plan several smaller trips (2 nights?), rather than one big one, but get away and TRUST THE LORD!

• It's okay to let go of something. For example, if you find that it's too hard to keep goats, and you've done all you can to make it work, find them a really good home and move on. Perhaps it will work during another season of your life. Letting go doesn't mean you can't pick it back up again! 

• Find something to do daily on your homestead that gives you GREAT pleasure. For me... it's hanging laundry, having tea, lighting a candle, wearing an apron, opening the windows (in summer), curling up by the fire with a good book (in winter), getting in bed early to read and relax, eating outdoors... 

• When you lay down at night, rehearse for a minute all the things you DID get done and thank the Lord. If it was a particularly difficult day, and more went wrong than right, you can still thank the Lord for SOMETHING! The fact that you weren't sick, you were able to physically handle the trials that came your way, that everyone is safe in their beds, that there was food on the table, that you learned a life lesson (I had to tell myself this when I killed my bees and I was so distraught!). 

Just for the record... my home is not always perfect. Let me rephrase that... it's never perfect. My home is probably a lot like every other home... clean for a couple of hours and lived in the rest of the time. I often choose to let the floors go. Living in the country, it's an unending battle. They get cleaned for company or when my husband, who is extremely patient (despite his preference for clean floors), might make the slightest mention of their need to be swept and mopped. 

You really want to live a simple life? Get this lesson down... and accept it. Embrace it. Be content and at peace with what God has said yes and no to. And enjoy!

What are you struggling with in your homesteading journey? What do you think you might need to let go of?

Me? I let go of some blogging last week - only one post other than the Barn Hop! And today... sorry, but only one photo. I let the rest go.


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